We are into week three of our 20% Project and the students are working hard. I have students that are learning to cook, solving a Rubik’s Cube under three minutes, archery, smelting metal, learning sign language, raising money for charities, raising awareness about pollution and raising awareness about cruelty to animals. It is such a variety! A few of the students, however, have changed their mind about their topics. After this week, no topic changes can be made so that each student has a good amount of time to pursue their project and aim to complete all of their goals. This year is the first year where the students had a harder time coming up with their project choices and more have changed topics than in previous years. I am going to reflect on why this is happening and see what I can do about helping the students make their choices next year so that it is something they will stick with through the process.
Each week the students will blog their experience through the 20% Project. Last Friday (before spring break), I had the students begin to blog. It was a planning week for us so that the students could think about where they were headed and what they would accomplish each week. Because of this, I made the first blog optional. I want the students to click around and learn the Edublogs site (like I had to) as I think they will remember it more than if I just show them. It was a practice blog week. Those who have started blogging and are becoming more comfortable with the site can then become coaches in class to help others become more comfortable (if you teach it, you learn it better!). As they write more, they will get more comfortable with the site and their posting abilities (adding video, images, links, etc.).
I am eager to see if they will vlog instead of blog (posting their videos on their blogging site). It is a wonderful option so that students can include video clips of what they have been doing (if they are recording their progress this way) and so the audience can really get a feel for the student and their enthusiasm (or lack thereof if it was a rough week, LOL) for their project.
It is quite a lot of reading, once all of the students get going for real on recording their experiences, but I love it and it is an awesome way to keep track of where they are and offer them feedback. Edublogs.org does make it nice and easy through their “reader” so that all the posts and comments are all on one screen and you can just fly through the posts (grade them) and publish them (if you have chosen to monitor postings as the teacher).
A HUGE thank you to all who are following the students and providing them that authentic audience. I know they will be excited to hear from you! 🙂